Pool season is a week longer this year! I don’t know why this is, but I suspect that it’s more likely to happen again in future years if we take advantage of it now.
These nine pools (listed in rough order of how much I love them) will be open for splashing, floating, lolling, swimming, and other water-based wonderfulness through the end of the day next Thursday, August 27th (all other pools are closed or closing today):
Kelly (in Fairmount Park, next to the Please Touch Museum): The biggest, not to mention the only pool in the system with grass, inside the pool deck, that you may lie on. Weekend hours: Lap swimming 12-4:45pm; open swim Sat 12-4:45pm; family swim Sun 12-4:45pm. Weekday hours: Lap swimming 11am-6:45pm; open swim 1-4pm; adult swim Mon, Wed, Fri 5-6:45pm; family swim Tue, Thu 5-6:45pm.
Mander (on the edge of East Fairmount Park, at 33rd and Diamond): I was in lifeguard training with longtime guard Reina and would trust any member of my family’s life in her hands. She may have gone back to school at this point, but her mother, head lifeguard Nancy, runs a tight ship as well — and leads water aerobics during adult swim.
Vare (at 26th and Morris in South Philly): If you love to swim and live South, it’s wise to familiarize yourself with Vare, which is usually the area’s first pool to open and last to close. Its spirit harkens back to the early days of public pools, when working-class boys turned reformers’ baths into joyful, raucous playgrounds.
Max Myers (at Hellerman and Horrocks, just north of the Boulevard off Bustleton in the Northeast): Representing the opposite end of the rules spectrum from Vare. As long as you expect to shuttle back outside of the pool gate every 45 minutes, this large, T-shaped pool is a lovely place to spend a day — especially if you snag some deck space next to the veggie garden.
Waterloo (at Cumberland and Waterloo in Kensington): A true neighborhood pool. Small and hemmed in, but somehow here that feels cozy rather than cramped. Ask the staff about their rec leader, Anthony Washington, if you want to inspire yourself to be a better person.
Awbury (at Ardleigh and Haynes, by the Awbury Arboretum in Germantown): It’s cooler up here in the trees, and there are benches to sit on. I’ve had more experiences arriving at this pool to find it closed than I wish to remember, so if you’re coming from another part of the city, maybe call first.
Feltonville (off Wyoming between A and B, a few blocks south of the Boulevard): I’m excited this pool will be open, as I haven’t swum here since 2013 and am looking forward to making it back. Feltonville (which rumor has it is an especially well-run rec center) is generally the pool with the longest season up this way.
Vogt (at Unruh and Cottage, in the Tacony section of the Northeast): Another large, T-shaped pool in the Northeast. Vogt’s schedule has something for everyone. And it’s sort of charming how the staff climb through a hole in the rec center wall to get out to the pool.
Christy (at 56th and Christian in West Philly): Extremely easy to find, right there on the corner. Where Mayor Nutter swam as a kid.
Terrific pictures! I’m new to Philadelphia. Excited there are public pools! Can’t find any info about who can use them and how much it costs. Can you give some info?
Hi Jenn. ANYONE can use them, and they are totally FREE! That said, all of the outdoor ones have closed for the season — they’ll be back in late June 2016.